Roger Federer broke the news fans across the world have long been fearing when he announced on Thursday he will retire from competitive tennis after next week's Laver Cup in London.
Also read: A super fan's star-crossed trysts with Roger Federer
The 41-year-old Swiss, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles and is regarded by many as the best player ever to wield a racket, has not played a match since last year's Wimbledon.
"As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries," Federer said in a post on Instagram.
"I've worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body's capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear. I am 41 years old."
September 15, 2022
"I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it's time to end my competitive career. The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour."
Federer, who dominated men's tennis after winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, has been troubled by injuries in recent years.
A career like no other spanning four decades...— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) September 15, 2022
Here's the @rogerfederer story ☺️#RForever pic.twitter.com/3miMx7zAZR
He has undergone three knee operations in the last two years and his last competitive match was a quarter-final defeat against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz at the 2021 Wimbledon.
Federer had announced he planned to return to the tour when he teams up with long-time rival and friend Rafa Nadal to play doubles at the Laver Cup in London.
He had also planned to play at the Swiss indoors tournament at home in Basel.
Federer first served notice of his special talent when he beat American great Pete Sampras on his way to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2001.
Two years later he outclassed Mark Philippoussis on Wimbledon's Centre Court to begin his Grand Slam collection.
Federer went on to win seven more Wimbledon titles, claimed five U.S. Open titles, six Australian crowns and a single French Open achieved in 2009 to complete his career Slam.
He also holds the record for 237 consecutive weeks as world number one and the only omission from his glittering CV is an Olympic singles gold medal, losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 final.
Also read: A window into the life of Roger Federer